SAMAC's the Shake,
About Forever Morgans
Who is Forever Morgans?Forever Morgans is a breed rescue made up of a virtual network of volunteers that helps Morgans in dire straits find new homes. We are a “virtual barn” with no facility. Our horse are in foster care all over the country. Forever Morgans works with other rescues, brokers, and individuals to identify horses in need or at risk, and then helps those horses find forever homes. Forever Morgans is committed to each horse they rescue for his or her lifetime.
Forever Morgans Rescue is a 501(c)3 organization recognized by the IRS. Our non-profit federal tax identification number (EIN) is 45-4935830. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
How did Forever Morgans start?FM began as a group of Morgan fans who recognized a need for an organization to help Morgans who have fallen upon hard times. This led to the creation of the Forever Morgans internet group on Yahoo! Groups, and then the Facebook groups. Our goal is to share information about Morgans in need and network in order to place them in safe homes. FM has existed since 2005 and has members across the United States, Canada and around the world. The bylaws can be downloaded here.
Where do the horses come from?FM purchases directly from auction, accepts voluntary surrenders, takes horses from other rescues, and helps with other emergencies when horses need a new home.
Many horses come from Amish communities where they have been buggy and farm horses. When they are no longer able to do the hard work and long miles required, or the owners just wants to "upgrade" to a different horse, they are frequently sold at auction. Auctions such as New Holland and Sugarcreek have kill buyers who purchase horses inexpensively to be sold for processing in meat plants in Canada and Mexico for human consumption overseas. An FM representative attends many of these auctions and purchases horses who are at risk of being bought by the kill buyers, typically those that are priced at $600 and below.
Some kill buyers and brokers will re-sell horses to FM instead of shipping the horse to slaughter. When they contact FM for this, FM raises funds by taking pledges to pay the horse's price (referred to as bail); when we are sure that we have enough funds to pay the bail and cover the horse's other expenses (transport, vet, quarantine, etc.) we call in the pledges and bring the horse into the Forever Morgans system. Often, instead of raising bail and expenses up front, FM will pay the broker using reserve funds and then request donations to replenish the reserve fund. This is safer for the horse, but means that the reserve fund has to have enough money.
FM also has contacts within the Amish community to help purchase horses directly from owners instead of the horse being sent to the auction. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved: the owner typically gets as much money as they would from the auction, the horse is not at risk of being bought by a kill buyer or exposed to the stress and germs of an auction, FM gets more information on the horse and its history, FM does not have to pay the auction or broker fees, and the owner is assured that the horse has a good home. Many Amish have contacted FM for subsequent horses, and have recommended FM to their friends and neighbors.
We try to monitor "free horse" and "cheap horse" advertisements in order to identify potentially dangerous situations, as many brokers and kill buyers will promise unsuspecting horse owners that they will give the horse a good home and instead take the horse to auction or directly to slaughter.
Why work with an intermediary? Why not directly with the kill buyer?FM does work directly with the kill buyer and broker when possible. Some individuals will not work with rescues or private parties, but only work with an intermediary, so FM has to work with them.
Does FM attend auctions?FM has a trusted representative present at auctions when possible. The person bids on horses that are at risk of being purchased by kill buyers or brokers, typically horses sold for $600 or less. Buying directly at the auction helps reduce the costs involved and not put money in the hands of the broker, but it requires that FM have a trustworthy person to attend the auction, money in hand to purchase, transportation arranged, and a quarantine place for the horse to go to.
Where do the broker fees come from?The broker fees come directly from the kill buyer or broker and there is no bartering with them on price. They typically add a "broker fee" to the price that they paid for the horse. They are in business to make money buying and selling horses. Whether the money is from FM or the meat plant does not matter as long as they make a profit. Allowing a rescue or intermediary to promote the horses on the kill buyer's lot gives more people a chance to see the horses and buy them. In a way, the kill buyer is allowing the horses a chance at a different outcome by giving FM the chance to see and save the Morgans.
If donations cover the horse's purchase cost, why are there adoption fees?There is always an adoption contract and, except for Special Needs horses, an adoption fee. Giving the horse away for free does not put a value on the horse for the adopter. Through bitter experience, FM has learned that giving the horse away puts the horse at risk by not putting a value to it. The horse has already been at risk and the goal is to find a forever home. By having a reasonable adoption fee it gives value and worth to the horse and the adopter is more likely to take the adoption seriously. The adoption fees are put back to work to save more horses at risk.
There are many costs besides the initial cost of getting the horse! The horse also needs quarantine, transport to quarantine (or foster, if the foster can do quarantine), vet expenses, and board if the horse does not immediately adopted or fostered. FM tries to fundraise for as much of this as possible. Many times horses from an auction or broker lot come into QT sick and stay longer than expected (we do not have our own QT facility and pay a provider to give care to our horses during this time), have undetermined injuries that need medical attention, have larger transport fees to foster than expected, or have to be boarded until a foster or adoptive home is available. The bottom line is that ALL money raised goes back into helping save or care for these horses and is GREATLY appreciated and needed.
What happens after a horse is rescued?All horses spend at least two weeks, and often 30 days, in quarantine. If the horse is not adopted by the time this is complete, the horse goes to a foster home if a suitable one is available, or moves to a board situation at the quarantine facility. The horse is evaluated to determine its personality, training level, and any special needs so that FM can best promote the horse to find it a forever home.
Immediately after the horse is rescued, if the horse is registered FM contacts the breeder, former owner(s) and other people who know the horse both to learn more about the horse's history and to give them an opportunity to help. Many are shocked to learn that the horse needs rescue and are eager to help by adopting the horse, donating to its rescue, or helping to find it a home.
Why is there an adoption/foster contract?Forever Morgans is committed to each horse they rescue for his or her lifetime. Each horse is adopted with a contract to ensure they do not end up at auction again. The contract outlines the responsibilities for the adopter and for Forever Morgans. The contract is to protect the horse, not to keep you from adopting or fostering one! Horses in rescue have already been let down by people, Forever Morgans' contract helps ensure that they are not let down again.
Why rescue non-registered/grade Morgans?FM is committed to helping Morgans and realizes that not all have registration papers. Some horses labeled as grade have been separated from their papers as they go through auction. FM has been able to restore the identities of many of these horses through DNA testing. Other horses, particularly geldings in Amish communities, are purebred Morgans who were never registered.
What is needed?FM's foster homes are often full but the supply of horses needing rescuing never stops. We need foster homes, forever homes, and people that will help us find those homes! We also need funds to continue our work and volunteers to help with publicity, checking references, representing FM at events, getting updates on horses, and doing all the behind-the-scenes work that rescue entails.
What is FM's connection with AC4H?Another Chance 4 Horses (AC4H) was an equine rescue/broker in Bernville, PA; they are no longer in operation. AC4H tried to help all breeds owned by the kill buyer to give them a second chance at life. Forever Morgans’ arrangement with AC4H was to handle all Morgans, grade and registered, being promoted by AC4H. If someone asked AC4H about a Morgan they listed, grade or registered, AC4H directed them to Forever Morgans. FM was decreasing involvement with AC4H before they closed. AC4H was investigated by several agencies for fraud; FM fully cooperated with the investigations and was found to not be involved in AC4H's fraudulent activities.
Can I breed my adopted horse?FM does not promote breeding but does allow it with specific approval. With so many Morgans already at risk, creating more lives to possibly end up in distressed situations is not part of our vision. However, with that said, FM understands the Morgan breed is small and certain valuable bloodlines are rare. FM will allow a mare to be bred once, and occasionally twice, but only with approval from the Board PRIOR to the mare being bred. The adopter must intend to keep the resulting foal for life and the foal is required to have an FM contract. Speculative breeding (with the intention of selling the foal) is not allowed. This is spelled out in more detail in the adoption contract.